Bruno Fernandes is eager to be a Paul Scholes-like game-changing figure for Manchester United and insists he was better than Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard.
Fernandes has produced 13 goals and 10 assists in just 21 Premier League appearances for United following his heroics at Goodison Park prior to the international break.
The Portugal playmaker, signed in January from Sporting Lisbon, scored two and set up another as the Red Devils came from a goal down to beat Everton and alleviate some pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The No 10 has been a huge hit at Old Trafford and is well on course to prove worth every penny of his transfer fee, which could inflate to around £68million if all add-ons are paid.
And Fernandes has revealed he wants to follow Scholes by writing himself into United history.
Scholes, a member of the Class of 92, was one of United’s greatest ever players and managed 718 appearances, winning 25 major trophies including 11 Premier League titles.
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The ginger-haired England midfielder scored over 150 goals and notched up over 70 assists during his time under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Fernandes told the UTD Podcast: “Maybe I’m closer to Paul Scholes than the rest of them. Scholes was a guy who likes to be in the box, who likes to give an assist, who likes to score a lot of goals.
“I remember when we were about to play Club Brugge last season, and I was in the dining room with Fred, and on the television they were playing all Paul Scholes’ goals in a Manchester United shirt.
“We had eaten, but we just stayed there to watch all of those goals of his. It was funny because I was talking to Fred, and I said to him, ‘You see what Paul Scholes is doing, you need to be more closer to the goal, because if not, you will never score!’.
“And then Fred, in that game, he scored twice! I appreciate Scholes a lot but maybe because, at that time for me in Portugal, when Scholes was playing at his best level, it was difficult for us to see English football.
“After watching a video of Paul Scholes, I knew he was a player who scored a lot of goals.”
Despite his legendary status at United, Scholes never truly asserted himself for England in spite of his obvious quality.
Although he racked 66 caps and scored 14 goals for the Three Lions, Scholes was often shunted out of position to accommodate Liverpool captain Gerrard and Chelsea talisman Lampard.
But Fernandes thinks the United icon was better than his two rivals, with the debate as to who was the best of the trio raging on until this day.
“I think Scholes was one of the best midfielders in the world,” the Portuguese continued.
“For England, a lot of people talk about Frank Lampard because he scored a lot of goals of course, one of the best in England too, you have Steven Gerrard too.
“But I think Scholes is the one who makes more difference than anyone else. And before everyone starts talking about this, I haven’t seen every midfielder in England, OK!
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“But I think in the last generation, those three were the three best ones, and for me Scholes was best.”
Scholes is similarly full of praise for United’s attacking talisman Fernandes, who he has likened to Manchester City great David Silva.
He said back in the summer: “Sometimes it just takes one player to turn a team around and knit a team together.
“I don’t like talking about City but you think of David Silva at Manchester City – that player [that] links all the play together, and I think we’ve found him in Fernandes.
“He’s totally transformed the team. It’s gone from watching a little bit of a dull team, to one player coming in and all of a sudden they look like they’re going to create, they look like they’re going to score goals every time he’s in possession of the ball.”
“He’s fitted in straight away. Nemanja Vidic and Evra really struggled for the first six to eight months. I think they signed in January.
“It wasn’t until the season after where they really got used to it and picked up and went on to have really amazing careers.
“But this lad, he’s picked it up straight away, and it’s been a real benefit. I keep saying he’s transformed the team, but I really think he has.
“He thinks goals, thinks about his centre-forward, whereas other players might be thinking sideways and backwards. He’s constantly thinking about scoring goals and that’s what Manchester United’s all about.”
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